Book 6, The Road to Revenge – Chapter 20, Poison
Linley firmly etched this scene into his mind.
Faced with Cesar’s questions, Linley nodded. “Very charismatic. I’ve already committed that scene to memory. However, I’m afraid it will be quite difficult for me to make a carving on the same level of ‘Awakening From the Dream’ again.”
A ‘Masterpiece’ level sculpture appearing in the world was a rare event indeed.
In the past, Linley had been thoroughly heartbroken, and had poured all of his emotions into that carving, allowing himself to forget everything else in the world and attain that most mysterious of states. Only then was he able to complete such a sculpture. For him, in his current state, to attempt to carve another sculpture of that level was virtually impossible.
“As long as you, Master Linley, are the sculptor, I’ll be satisfied. I don’t ask that it be on the same level as ‘Awakening From the Dream’, only that it is on the same level as most master level sculptures.” Cesar said with a laugh.
If that was the case, Linley had total confidence in his abilities.
“Mr. Cesar, how about this. I will produce the sculpture you requested in about a month. What do you say?” Actually, Linley only needed three days, but he wanted to give himself sufficient time.
Cesar nodded. “Alright. One month is a very short period of time. I’m not in a hurry. I have all the time in the world. Haha.”
“Master Linley, if you have anything you want me to help with, feel free to tell me. As long as I can accomplish it, I will definitely do it for you.” Cesar said magnanimously.
Linley couldn’t help but feel rather nervous.
With Patterson killed by him, the only target in Linley’s mind now was Clayde. To kill or to capture Clayde wasn’t something which Linley was currently capable of.
But Cesar, the King of Killers, definitely was capable!
“Mr. Cesar, if I were to ask you to capture one of the rulers of a kingdom belonging to the Holy Union, would you agree?” Linley resisted the urge to be rash, and instead first sounded Cesar out.
Cesar was startled. He stared questioningly at Linley. “Capture a king?”
Linley nodded heavily. “Yes.”
Cesar frowned. After a short pause, he looked at Linley. “How about this. Let me ask you something first. If I were to help you capture this ruler, would you kill him?”
“Most likely!” Linley replied honestly.
Lying to a ‘King of Killers’ would most likely be quite unwise. As for killing Clayde, if his mother really had died in Clayde’s hands, how could Linley not seek vengeance?
Linley had a dark premonition. There had been no trace of his mother for so many years. Most likely, she was dead, or perhaps imprisoned somewhere. No matter what the case, he would seek vengeance for his mother.
“Kill a king?” Cesar looked at Linley.
Linley looked back with hope in his eyes.
In Cesar’s heart, he understood that although in terms of status, a Cardinal was somewhat more important than a King, the impact caused by the murder of a King would be greater than that caused by the murder of a Cardinal.
A dead Cardinal could instantly be replaced by the Radiant Church.
But the death of a King would cause countless battles and strife within a kingdom. At the same time, the Radiant Church would yet again be unhappy with him.
“This request of yours…forgive me for being unable to fulfill it.” Cesar looked seriously at Linley. “Linley, the impact caused by the murder of a King is too great. And, this entire time, the Radiant Church has treated me quite well. I don’t wish to set the Radiant Church and my Sabre organization up as enemies just for the sake of a sculpture.”
Behind Cesar, the King of Killers, was the Saber organization, one of the four great assassin’s guilds.
Cesar knew what was important and what was not.
A single sculpture wasn’t worth allowing cracks to appear in the friendly relationship between himself and the Radiant Church. All these years, the Radiant Church had treated him with courtesy, something Cesar understood in his heart. He couldn’t be a selfish wolf who repaid the Church’s kindness by acting against one of their kings.
“Change your request.” Cesar said apologetically.
Linley suddenly felt powerless. Perhaps in terms of power, Cesar didn’t care about Clayde at all, but Clayde’s status had convinced Cesar to stay his hand.
Linley forced himself to remain calm.
“Mr. Cesar, I would like to ask, do you have any method by which I, a magus of the seventh rank, can kill a combatant of the ninth rank.” Linley asked.
Cesar glanced at Linley. After a short silence, he said, “I have quite a few assassination methods. But one which would allow a magus of the seventh rank to assassinate a combatant of the ninth rank? This…is challenging.” As he spoke, Cesar began to consider this question. In the mind of this ‘King of Killers’ who hadn’t killed anyone in a long time, one assassination method after another began to speed through his mind.
Linley didn’t dare to disrupt Cesar’s train of though. He stood there quietly.
Suddenly, Cesar turned to look at Linley. “The combatant of the ninth rank, would this be a warrior or a magus? If this person is a magus, I have a method.”
“Warrior.” Linley immediately said.
Dealing with a warrior and dealing with a magus required totally different methods. Hearing Linley explain that this was a warrior of the ninth rank, Cesar’s head began to hurt.
Linley could only wait there urgently.
“Oh. I have an idea.” Cesar’s eyes suddenly lit up, and he turned to Linley. “Haha, a long time ago, I stumbled upon this method by accident. I didn’t imagine that eight hundred years later, I’d still remember it.”
“What method?” Linley immediately grew excited.
This King of Killers actually had a way for a magus of the seventh rank to kill a warrior of the ninth rank.
“The King of Killers is full of assassination techniques. Indeed, he knows far more than I do in this field. Although, if I lived for five thousand more years, perhaps I would still know more than him.” Doehring Cowart’s voice rang out in Linley’s mind.
Linley couldn’t help but force a laugh. Grandpa Doehring never liked admitting inferiority to anyone.
“The method is…” Cesar smiled at Linley. “Using poison!”
Linley was startled. He thought it must’ve been some sort of good method…but a king’s food was always tasted and tested. How could using poison be effective?
“Master Linley, don’t underestimate the power of poison. The art of using poison is an extremely deep, subtle method of assassination. This world is filled with countless ingredients, which can be used to make countless types of poisons. Who in this world can dare say that he knows all of the poisons in the world? Or that he can detect any sort of poison?”
Linley couldn’t help but nod.
He agreed with this. For example, Doehring Cowart knew about using Blueheart Grass to counteract the forceful effects of dragon’s blood.
“This poison that I’m talking about was specially designed for use against warriors. As long as the warrior is not at the Saint-level, upon being affected by this poison, his strength will decrease by more than 90%. What’s more, to this very day, there’s been no antidote invented for this poison. Only by spending a year of time can one slowly use his battle-qi to purge the poison from his system.” Cesar clearly had a very clear memory regarding this poison. “And this poison is both odorless and tasteless. There’s no way to detect it at all. Only after having been poisoned would one realize that one had ingested it.”
Less than 10% of strength would remain? No way to test for it?
Linley’s eyes lit up.
Clayde was nothing more than a warrior of the ninth rank. Once he was impacted by this poison, based on Linley’s current level of power, wouldn’t he be able to easily trample Clayde into the ground?
“Do you have this poison, Mr. Cesar?” Linley quickly asked.
Linley could guess that this poison was extremely rare and valuable. That was without question. A poison which was effective against all warriors short of the Saint-level, and which was odorless, tasteless, and undetectable, would of course rare and precious. If not, all the warriors in the world would be dead already. “Master Linley, didn’t you hear what I just said? This is something I recalled learning about eight hundred years ago. I just glanced at that recipe back then. After all, this poison was of no use or threat to me.” Cesar frowned. “I only know this poison was primarily formed from eight major ingredients, but I don’t recall the exact ingredients clearly.”
“You don’t remember?” Linley was so frantic, he could kill someone.
Cesar laughed towards Linley. “Master Linley, don’t worry. Although I’m not sure, the recipe for this poison was stored within my organization long ago. I can order some people to make a copy of it and bring it to me. However, the base of my Saber organization is in a place with very few people. From here to there and back, most likely it would take a month or two of time.”
A month or two. That was acceptable!
Linley nodded towards Cesar. “Mr. Cesar, might I ask if your organization has any of this poison already in stock?” Linley didn’t want to waste time looking for ingredients to mix the potion.
“We do not.” Cesar shook his head. “In this entire world, perhaps only the Deathgod’s Hands has this poison in stock.”
In the past, while chatting with Yale, the topic of conversation had turned to the four major assassin’s guilds. These were known as Saber, Bloodrose, Scarlet Moon, and Deathgod’s Hands. Each assassin’s guild had its own specialty. The Deathgod’s Hands specialized in using all sorts of queer, exotic assassination techniques.
“Right. In the past, if it weren’t for the fact that the Deathgod’s Hands had a favor to ask of me, perhaps they wouldn’t have given a copy of such a precious recipe to my organization.” Cesar nodded.
Something which could kill virtually any warrior below the Saint-rank. The value of such a poison was unimaginable.
“Then…would it be possible for me to purchase this poison from the Deathgod’s Hands?” Linley said hopefully.
“Impossible.” Cesar laughed. “The Ten Ultimate Poisons of the Deathgod’s Hands is something they never give to any other organizations. The reason they gave us this recipe was probably because they expected that we would never actually use it.”
“Never use it?” Linley looked questioningly at Cesar.
“Because the price is simply too high. It isn’t worth it.” Cesar chuckled. “Two of the ingredients, in particular, have already been totally cornered off the market by the Deathgod’s Hands. The price of the poison would most likely be more than the commission of the assassination mission.”
But to him, no matter how much gold it cost, it would be worth it.
“How about this. I’ll go back now, and arrange for some people to deliver a copy of this recipe to you. But Master Linley, a month from now, you need to have my sculpture ready.” Cesar laughed as he spoke to Linley.
“Of course.” Linley felt a knot in his heart unclench.
After sending off Cesar, Linley, who had been worrying this entire time about how to deal with Clayde, finally relaxed. That night, he finally had a sound rest and a beautiful dream, something very rare for him.
That next afternoon.
Linley was calmly seated cross-legged on the grass, cultivating his Dragonblood battle-qi. That azure-black Dragonblood battle-qi in his body was constantly roiling about, as the unique power of the Dragonblood constantly was drawn deep into Linley’s bones, muscles, and tendons, causing his body to become more and more powerful.
Linley believed that if he continued at this rate, there would come the day that his body would be as powerful as that of a real, Saint-level dragon. He would resurrect the fallen glory of the Dragonblood Warriors.
“Lord Linley.” A female attendant’s voice from outside.
Linley took a deep breath, allowing the Dragonblood battle-qi to return to his dantian.
“Enter.” Linley said calmly.
Only then did this serving woman come in. Respectfully, she said, “Lord Linley, there are several guests from the Debs clan outside. They say they have come to thank you, Lord Linley.”
“Thank me?” Linley was momentarily stunned.
But then, Linley quickly understood. Clayde had given him face and freed Kalan Debs.
“Thank me? I’m afraid it isn’t as simple as that.” Linley said to himself.
There was a better than 80% to 90% chance that the Debs clan, seeing Linley help out once, had shamelessly come to ask for Linley’s help to save the Debs clan yet again.
“Let them enter.” Knowing of the existence of the poison, Linley now felt much calmer and more assured of himself. With his mind relaxed, he now had the leisure and patience to pay attention to the affairs of the Debs clan.
“The Debs clan? Even if they aren’t exterminated, they’ll be totally beaten down.” Linley could already totally predict the future of the Debs clan.
Within the main hall.
Nimitz was the leader of this delegation. Kalan’s two uncles, Kalan himself, Rowling, and Alice were the members of this six-person delegation. No one in Nimitz’s delegation had dared to sit. They all were standing respectfully.
Seeing Linley walk towards them from afar, Nimitz and the others immediately smiled, and Nimitz even cupped his hands in salute. “Lord Linley!”
“I just finished my training exercises. If you could just wait a moment, I’ll take a quick bath and change my clothes first.” Linley said with a faint smile. And then, no longer paying any attention to the courtesies being paid to him by Nimitz and the others, he headed directly to another room on the other side of the hall.
Nimitz and the others were briefly stunned, but they could only smile and stand there, respectfully awaiting his return.